(Hey all I'm back, for the moment. I'm not making a big deal about it, because for all I know it'll be another 3 months before I post again.)
Thought I'd try introducing a new category on this site "T-Minus 30": Dinners that should be ready to go in about 30 minutes. This assumes you have the ingredients on hand and will be able to focus your attention on meal prep.
I got an email recently from a representative at Real Simple offering me a copy of their new cookbook Real Simple Best Recipes: Easy, Delicious Meals. A lot of the dishes are good one-dish options. For me, most of the mains could be rounded out with a salad and a loaf of good bread. A lot of the recipes can be easily adapted to sue what you have on hand.
The first recipe I tried was for Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza. The recipe itself called for a topping of sun-dried tomatoes, radicchio and mozzarella. It also called for you to make polenta from scratch. I had none of those things on hand, but I did have some premade polenta (Fra Mani brand, from Costco!), stewed tomatoes and shallots (and mozzarella).
Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza
This is more of a method or idea than a recipe, so I'm going to give you the gist and you can take it from there.
- Heat the oven to 400.
- Prepare about 3 cups of polenta (either from scratch, by whisking 1 cup of polenta meal in 2 cups of boiling water for about 5 minutes*, or whisking premade polenta to loosen it up) and stir in about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
- Spread polenta in the bottom of an oiled baking dish (a 9" pie pan works perfectly).
- Top polenta with ingredients of your choice. The recipe called for sun-dried tomatoes, shredded radicchio and mozzarella. I used stewed tomatoes, thinly sliced shallots and fresh mozzarella.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until toppings are melting and softened and the edges of polenta are starting to crisp.
Try this recipe with whatever ingredients you have on hand. I think this would be fabulous with cooked sausage, fennel and asiago cheese.
* I know that true polenta needs to be cooked slowly and low, for at least 30 minutes. What we're doing here is cooking the polenta just enough to hydrate it.